The TAG Heuer Monza has a colorful history, to say the least. It made its official debut in the 1970’s with Heuer, before the brand was acquired by Techniques d’Avant Garde and renamed TAG Heuer. However, that initial Monza was actually a re-edition of a Heuer design from the 1930’s: a manual-wind, single button Chronograph. Still, the Monza as we know it today launched in 1976 as a limited edition, sporty variation of the Carrera.
In 1975, Ferrari had just won the FIA Formula One World Championship, and Heuer believed that victory needed to be commemorated release of a new special edition watch. Shortly after, the Monza was born. Its name takes after the Italian city that hosts the Formula One Grand Prix. The early Monza watches were powered by Heuer’s caliber fifteen movement—the economy variation of the caliber twelve. Most models were PVD-coated, which gave the watch an ultra-sporty look at a more attainable price point. It was also one of the first watches to feature the “full black” case and dial with red accents. This race-inspired look continues to be produced in a number of TAG Heuer models today.
Although the watch was initially intended to be a limited edition, the Monza remained in production until 1985, when Heuer was acquired by Techniques d’Avant Garde. In the early 2000’s, TAG Heuer re-released a number of retired collections, and the Monza was one of them. The first reissue of the Monda was a bit of a departure from its 1970’s counterpart. For example, the PVD-coating was replaced with a more standard stainless steel finish on the case. In fact, the twenty-first century Monza more closely resembled that Heuer chronograph from 1933—the one that inspired the 1970’s design.
After a few years in production, the first re-edition of the Monza was retired in 2006. However, just five years later, the Monza made a comeback, again, as a limited edition. It features a similar case to the 2000 reissue of the model but with an updated dial design.
Finally, in honor of the Monza’s 40th anniversary, a new variation was released in 2016. This version of the Monza is most similar to the 1970’s model yet still has a number of more subtle differences. It showcases the original, distinctive PVD-coated titanium case. It also features the “full-black” dial with red accents, but the arrangement of the functions on the dial is slightly different. A key aesthetic difference is the size—the 2016 model got a modern update with a 42mm case. It also features an upgraded movement, the caliber seventeen.
Although the Monza has had many lives and come and gone from the TAG Heuer collection over the years, it’s arguably has one of the most interesting backstories of any model produced by the brand.
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